Investigation into Back Bay fire continues with search warrant, permitting inquest
MALDEN, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Police executed a search warrant last week at D & J Ironworks in Malden as part of their investigation into the fatal Beacon Street fire, a source tells FOX 25.
Boston fire officials have said welders installing railings at the brownstone next to the site of the fire set off the blaze, but so far haven't identified the company that did the work. The owner of D & J Ironworks declined numerous requests for comment.
Surveillance video obtained by FOX Undercover from the day and time of the fire shows what appears to be a welding truck pulling into a parking spot on Back Street, the narrow alley running behind the fire site, and sit for approximately 5 minutes before pulling away. A short time later, a firefighter is seen hustling in the direction of 298 Beacon St., the apartment building where two Boston firefighters, Lt. Edward Walsh and Firefighter Michael Kennedy, died.
Authorities say the welding company doing the work at 296 Beacon St. did not pull a welding permit as required. In general, district fire chiefs review welding permits before deciding whether a fire detail is needed, according to Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald.
Authorities have said they don't believe the fire was intentionally set, but their hands may be tied when it comes to pressing criminal charges.
"Whether anybody should be held culpable for this event as the investigation goes on, that will be a determination made by the investigators and the District Attorney's office," Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans said at a press conference this past Friday.
296 Beacon St. is owned by Oliver Realty Limited Partnership, a corporate entity controlled by Back Bay real estate investor George Demeter. The owner released a statement Friday that said in part: "The company recently contracted with a third party to install safety railings at 296 Beacon Street. It was the company's understanding that these railings would be prefabricated offsite."
A spokesperson declined to elaborate on the statement, which also said, "Our hearts go out to the families of the firefighters who gave their lives to save others and protect property."